Launched way back in March 2021, the Moondrop Aria made a splash in the Chi-Fi (Chinese HiFi) scene. It became synonymous with Chi-Fi since its debut thanks to a combination of neutral tuning and an accessible price point for aspiring audiophiles.
However, since then, many other Chinese brands had launched their own contenders in the sub-$100 (approx. RM430) space, such as the 7Hz x Crinacle Salnotes Dioko which sports a 14.6mm planar diaphragm driver, or the Tangzu Shiminli, which undercuts the Moondrop Aria in price, and the Truthear HEXA, which has more drivers than I can count (1DD + 3BA). Lastly, there is the Moondrop Aria Snow Edition, which uses a different diaphragm and tuning for a different sound signature.
Moondrop Aria Specifications
|Driver:||LCP liquid crystal diaphragm|
10mm dual cavity internal magnetic dynamic driver
|Frequency Response Range:||5Hz-36kHz|
|Effective Frequency Response:||20Hz-20kHz|
What’s In The Box?
- Moondrop Aria
- Nylon woven silver-plated cable
- Storage case
- Filters x 3 sets
- Silicon ear-tips (S, M, L)
The Moondrop Aria uses a CNC carved and metal injection molded shell, giving it a solid build quality normally reserved for higher-end IEMs. Each earbud (without cable) weighs about 10.3 grams, which is quite heavy and you can feel the weight when wearing them.
The housing features a gold coloured line art to give it a more premium look. The eartips are slanted towards the ear canal, which provides a snug fit.
The IEMs come included with a nylon woven silver-plate cable with 0.78 pins, but since there is no microphone, you will have to talk to the mouthpiece if you plan to use it with your smartphone.
Accessories are aplenty with the Moondrop Aria, you get a total of 6 pairs of ear tips in 3 sizes. To fine tune your sound signature, you also get 3 sets of filters. The included carrying case is fairly basic, but has a neat elastic net compartment to store smaller accessories.
I’ve been using the Moondrop Aria as my daily driver for about a year now, and am still impressed by the audio quality it delivered. While it is not the most technical of IEMs in this price point, it has pleasing sound that is welcoming to most listeners.
Sound signature wise, it is tuned closer to the Harman neutral sound, which has slightly increased bass and treble.
Bass response is excellent and not overpowering. You also get a decent sub-bass that has a presentable rumble without muddying up the mid-range. Basslines have a deep thump and have a tight response.
The mid-range is a bit recessed at the lower end, but slightly elevated as it approaches the treble end of things. This is apparent in baritone vocals, as they sound less pronounced than guitars and snare drums. Female vocals however, are presented at the forefront, especially mezzo-sopranos. Overall, the mid-range sound crisp, if a bit uneven.
The treble is more on the bright side, as it is elevated more than the bass. This in turn results in a pleasing and fun sound that is warm without being sibilant.
Now on to the staging. As an IEM, the sound staging is middle of the pack. You get a well-defined instrument separation, but the staging is just so-so. Layering is decent, as I could hear distinct instruments in movie and game orchestral soundtracks.
All in all, the Moondrop Aria is nicely tuned with a sound signature that while not exceptional, it is a crowd pleaser.
The Moondrop Aria felt comfortable during wear, however I definitely felt the weight on my ears after long hours of wear. The included ear tips are sufficient for most users if not a bit cheap feeling. I would recommend getting either a comfit ear tip, or Moondrop’s own Spring Tips.
The cable has a fabric sleeve and is resistant to fraying. Audiophiles can argue all day whether cable quality will affect audio quality, but that is a con of worms I am not willing to open. As the IEM is detachable, you can always get replacement 0.78 pin IEM cables should yours break.
Is the Moondrop Aria Still Relevant in 2023?
Ever since the Moondrop Aria has dropped, many Chi-Fi brands have been taking notes and released their own “Aria killer” IEMs, some even with their own “IEM waifu” mascots. Some notable ones are:
The Truthear HEXA is a $80 IEM with 3BA + 1DD drivers. It matches the Aria in terms of accessories and “IEM waifu”, and excels in technicality. It is slightly bassier than the Aria, and the treble is not as pronounced. The Truthear HEXA can be had for almost the same price and it is down to personal sound preference.
7Hz X Crinacle Salnotes Dioko
The Salnotes Dioko is probably the only planar magnetic driver IEM at this price segment. It has sparkly treble and a smooth mid-range. However, the sub-bass can be lacking in comparison. The 7Hz X Crinacle Salnotes Dioko can be had for around RM400 (approx. $90).
Moondrop Aria Snow Edition
Finally, the Moondrop Aria competes with the Snow Edition. The Snow Edition uses a DLC composite diaphragm as opposed to the original’s LCP diaphragm. As a result, you get a more detailed sound and more airy treble. However, sub-bass is sacrificed as a result.
Ever since the release of the Moondrop Aria, it has opened the floodgates for high quality Chi-Fi IEMs at affordable price points. Despite that, I still like it a lot. It is versatile for different genres of music and the sound signature is pleasing to the ears. The closest contender for the coveted “budget king” would be the Truthear HEXA, and it boils down to whether you like more bass or treble.